Blogtour: Death in Avignon by Serena Kent

After a tumultuous summer, Penelope Kite has settled into the rhythm of her new life in Provence. Lavender-scented evenings, long lunches with new friends – and an exclusive gallery opening to attend, on the arm of the gorgeous mayor of St Merlot…

But beneath the veneer of glamour, scandal is brewing. Shockwaves ripple through the Avignon art world when a controversial painter, Roland Doncaster, chokes on an almond-stuffed olive.

A tragic accident? Or a ruthless poisoning? Embroiled once more in a murder investigation, Penelope discovers that any number of jealous lovers and scheming rivals could be in the frame. And with dashing art dealers to charm, patisseries to resist, and her own friends under suspicion, Penelope will need all her sleuthing talents to unveil the truth…

Once again, I have been transported to Provence thanks so this latest novel from Serena Kent. I finished this book during the recent hot spell we’re having in the UK (and funnily enough, just before writing this up, I saw an article stating this is the hottest weather France has *EVER* had too!

This was a very charming, chaotic blast of a novel which made me feel as though I was in France, trying out all the delicious food and sampling the wine…if only…can I go to France, now?

I love a good mystery every once in a while and as I’ve previously said when reviewing Death in Provence, also by Serena Kent (, I enjoyed reading a mystery novel which was light-hearted and not horrible. It’s great to be able to fulfil your need for intrigue without needing to put yourself through anything too grim. I would recommend this for anyone who has read anything else by Serena, and also for anyone who enjoys mystery without all the gore.


Book Blast: All Summer With You by Beth Good

Nursing a broken heart, Jennifer Bolitho retreats to Pixie Cottage. Her new landlord – a former soldier turned movie heartthrob – has grounds so large, she’s sure the little house nestled in the woods will bring her solitude.

Alex Delgardo also has reasons to hide away. Seeking refuge after a tragic incident turned his world upside down, he knows that the most important thing now is to care for his ailing family.

But when Jennifer enters their lives, that changes. Because, as they both learn, you can’t heal others until you learn to heal yourself…

This is another story which I read during the horrible weather we had in the UK in early June. I was using books as a way of escape.

The last book I read by Beth Good was Winter Without You, the review of this can be read here:

This is another story based in Cornwall (I really need to organise a visit there again someday!), and while the previous book painted a perfect image of the winter, this was a great escape into the summer of one of Britain’s most picturesque counties.

I rooted for the characters and found them very well written and developed. I enjoyed finding out what happened to them (both human and animal!) and wanted things to go well for them. IT’s an easy read and allows escapism, which is something I feel is important in a summer escape book. That’s not to say there isn’t tragedy on the way, and this is by no means insipid in terms of drama, but it is enough without being overly heart wrenching.

I have already had my ‘summer’ holiday (inverted commas, due to the fact my holiday was spent in North Wales in the pouring rain, dashing between terraces), but I would definitely read this again when the weather is warmer to get the full effect of the beautiful story mixed with the beautiful weather!

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Blogtour: Summer Love by Kitty Wilson

For teaching assistant Pippa, life in her home town of Penmenna is reassuringly predictable. Between managing the Easter Egg Hunt and dealing with her annoying but well-meaning family, Pippa thinks she has it all sorted. That is until gorgeous new substitute teacher Kam Choudhury arrives at Penmenna School, and turns everything upside down.

Pippa and Kam are instantly drawn to each other, but their priorities and their working relationship make it very hard to be together. Can they find a way to reconcile their differences and find their Happily-Ever-After?

It’s been flipping awful weather in the UK recently. Some parts of the UK had two months of rain in the space of a day and at my work, jobs have been delayed as a result. It hasn’t really felt like summer at all yet.

The reason I mention all of this? This book was a welcome relief to the awfulness happening outside. Summer Love is one in a series of The Cornish Village School books by Kitty Wilson. I’ve read one of these before, called Second Chances: Although it is linked with the previous books in terms of some of the characters, it’s easy to understand what is happening without having read the others and it is a standalone book.

I loved the characters and found I was empathetic towards them. Their dialogue read and flowed like a real conversation and in a way I felt I was able to join in their conversations (I didn’t literally, of course!). The humour is natural and not forced.

This is a really sweet story and made me feel all warm despite the shocking weather (I’m British, I talk about the weather…) and I would recommend this to anyone who likes a bit of light hearted romance in their life.

Kitty Wilson lived in Cornwall for twenty-five years having been dragged there, against her will, as a stroppy teen. She is now remarkably grateful to her parents for their foresight and wisdom – and that her own children aren’t as hideous. Recently she has moved to Bristol, but only for love and on the understanding that she and her partner will be returning to Cornwall to live very soon. She spends most of her time welded to the keyboard, dreaming of the beach or bombing back down the motorway for a quick visit! She has a penchant for very loud music, equally loud dresses and romantic heroines who speak their mind.

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Blogtour: Dreaming of Rome by TA Williams

Jo has had enough of handsome men. After a painful break-up, she’s decided she doesn’t believe in love.
Then, while on a professional trip to the magical city of Rome, she meets Corrado, a scientist and her brother-in-law to be, who doesn’t believe in love either. To him, it’s just a biochemical reaction. So what’s the problem?
Well, he’s gorgeous for a start, as well as charming, generous, intelligent and attentive, and she feels herself immediately falling for him, despite her new outlook.
The majesty of the Eternal City brings them ever closer together. But is their relationship doomed, or will love conquer all?
Heartbreaking and hilarious in equal measure, Dreaming of Rome is a joyous and
uplifting read from T.A. Williams, perfect for fans of Holly Martin, Tilly Tennant and Jenny Oliver

This is a nice feel good slightly cheesy romance. I felt very at ease reading through this and it provided a pleasant relief from all the books I’ve been reading recently (I’ve been reading a lot of psychological thrillers and scientific factual books over the last few months).

I found that I got into the narrative very quickly and it held my attention. I sometimes find that when I’m reading romantic novels my mind drifts a little but this wasn’t the case this time. It read very easily and the language wasn’t too complicated, but wasn’t patronising either.

I’ve never been to Rome but always wanted to. I feel like I was genuinely in Rome while reading this and it’s enforced my desire for travel. This novel has also enforced my love for dogs, as Daisy is absolutely adorable!

I would highly recommend this for anyone who needs a light-hearted read on the beach or the park over the summer. Or if you feel that you need a little sunshine or Italian love in your life.

T.A. Williams lives in Devon with his Italian wife. He was born in England of a Scottish mother and Welsh father. After a degree in modern languages at Nottingham University, he lived and worked in Switzerland, France and Italy, before returning to run one of the best- known language schools in the UK. He’s taught Arab princes, Brazilian beauty queens and Italian billionaires. He speaks a number of languages and has travelled extensively. He has eaten snake, still-alive fish, and alligator. A Spanish dog, a Russian bug and a Korean parasite have done their best to eat him in return. His hobby is long-distance cycling, but his passion is writing.

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Blogtour: The Best of Crimes by KC Maher

Walter, a child prodigy who now works on Wall Street, considers himself a father figure to Amanda, his daughter’s best friend and only child of a neglectful single mother. But when he loses his job after the 2008 financial crisis and his materialistic wife leaves him, taking their daughter, his relationship with Amanda enters a precarious new stage.

Walter struggles to give her the affection and guidance she needs, without succumbing to her budding sexuality. In the year before she enters high school, these two lonely souls will transform each other as Walter breaks out of his emotional shell, and Amanda blossoms into adolescence.

In a world that has always failed to protect its most vulnerable, The Best of Crimes is a new narrative and an unconventional love story that will challenge your perception of right and wrong.

This was an interesting book, because I felt incredibly guilty about enjoying it. The subject matter is a little taboo – think Lolita and you get the basic gist. I felt a little…I don’t know…”dirty” reading this I guess. Not in a Fifty Shades style, but in a way I haven’t really seen before in a novel (apart from Lolita, like I say).

I will not spoil the premise of the novel, but I found it very intriguing and wasn’t sure what I wanted to happen. Does Walter the main character succumb to his feelings or not? You’ll have to read to find out/

Personally I found this a little hard to get into, although that may have been my frame of mind at the time (I had a lot of changes going on in my life at this point) but once I got into it, I enjoyed it a lot. I will re-read this again in the future!

If you’re a fan of questionable morals and mysteries surrounding this, I would recommend this. If you’re easily offended and the idea of Lolita disgusts you, stay away. Unless you want to try a similar story.

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K.C. Maher’s short fiction has appeared in literary journals including Ascent, Black Warrior Review, Confrontation, Cottonwood, Gargoyle, and The View From Here. Her work has reached short-list status in various contests, including the Iowa School of Letters Award and Drue Heinz Literature Prize. The is her debut novel. She is mother to two children and lives in New York City with her husband


The Birthday Girl by Sue Fortin

Dear Carys, Zoe and Andrea
Come and join me for my fortieth birthday adventure weekend, full of mysteries and surprises the like of which you can’t imagine.

When Joanne’s friends reluctantly accept an invitation to her birthday party, it quickly becomes clear that there is more to this weekend than they are expecting.
One of them is hiding a secret.
And Joanne is planning to reveal it…

A weekend away in a cottage in the woods sounds like fun – until no one can hear your cries for help.

Four friends.
A party to die for.
Who will survive?

It has been a while since a book has caught me off guard quite as many times as this one did. This is full of twists and turns and the rug was pulled from under me so many times I struggled to keep track.

I didn’t particularly like any of the characters. They were all pretty bitchy and horrible to each other despite claiming they’re friends. However that seemed to add to my enjoyment of the book. The narrator Carys was quite an unreliable narrator, as you only really saw things from her perspective.

I enjoyed the fact that secrets were interspersed throughout. One minute you find out one thing about one of the characters and then everything is spun on its head again. The narrative itself is a little far fetched, but in all seriousness who needs a realistic storyline when a story is this exciting!

If you’re interested in a story that will constantly leave you on edge and trying to second guess what will happen, this is definitely for you!

Blog tour: Wedding Bells at Villa Limoncello by Daisy James

When Isabella Jenkins is unceremoniously fired from her fancy London job, she escapes to Tuscany. A few weeks hiding amongst rolling hills and grape vines at Villa Limoncello sounds exactly like the distraction she needs.
But Italy holds emotional memories for Izzy and with a hapless handyman, a matchmaking village matriarch and a gorgeous – if infuriating – local chef named Luca Castelotti, her quiet Italian get away turns into an unending cacophony of chaos.
Suddenly Izzie finds herself on a mission to pull off the wedding of the century and maybe get her life in order in the process. If only Luca’s gorgeous smile wasn’t such a powerful distraction…

This is a great example of a perfect summer read. The main storyline is simple but has backbone and a real thread to keep you occupied, while the scene is set beautifully with uncomplicated language to really make you feel you are there with the characters. I’ve never been to Tuscany (where the story is based) but I now desperately want to visit as a result of the amazing descriptions making me long for the summer (at the time of writing this, it is 20 degrees outside and I am sat with the window open. I will be heading out as soon as I’ve typed this!).

I know they say don’t judge a book by its cover, but I think the cover is so bright and colourful I felt I had to at least mention it. It reminds me a little of Mamma Mia. Except it’s based in a different country.

The characters are very charming and very vivid. They were the type of characters I wish were real due to their quirkiness. I found them relatable and really rooted for them. I also desperately want to try all the food which is mentioned throughout…time for ice-cream and limoncello I think…

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Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her summerhouse, she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.

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